Phosphine is a toxic, colourless gas with an odour of decaying fish or more commonly like that of welding grade acetylene. It is shipped as a liquefied compressed gas under its own vapour pressure. It is also supplied in a gaseous state, diluted with other gases under pressure. It is flammable, pyrophoric, and highly toxic.
The issue of the safe handling of phosphine is a very important and relevant topic to the compressed gas industry as well as the user community of this specialty gas.
Phosphine can be safely handled if equipment is properly designed and maintained and employees are trained.
This publication is intended for the suppliers, distributors, and users of phosphine and its handling equipment. The publication includes guidance for design of equipment, selection of cylinders and valves, handling controls, and safety practices. Guidelines on the operational steps associated with the use of phosphine and phosphine mixtures as well as fire protection, gas detection, ventilation, and related safeguards are also included. The manufacture, purification, and analysis of phosphine are beyond the scope of this publication, although the general guidance given is also relevant to these processes.
The publication is part of the programme to develop Globally Harmonised publications amongst Regional Gas Associations.